While the Polish capital Warsaw is embroiled in debates on various issues, one topic is taking center stage: irregularities in the issuance of visas to migrants. The issue has led to the dismissal of a deputy foreign minister in the ruling conservative government, sparking speculation on whether the Law and Justice (PiS) party will recover from this setback.
Indeed, a scandal has emerged. Polish authorities have uncovered a scheme involving the illegal sale of several hundred visas — not hundreds of thousands, as some reports might suggest. Multiple arrests have been made, and the responsible deputy minister has faced political repercussions. Fortunately, his suicide attempt was unsuccessful. Earlier, an attempt to introduce regulations that could facilitate the illegal sale of visas was blocked.
The U.S. State Department spokesperson was unable to confirm claims from Polish news outlet Onet, which reported that U.S. authorities discovered the illegal activity, casting doubt on their validity. This, however, led to further speculation and was considered by some as evidence supporting Onet’s credibility.
Meanwhile, opposition politicians are clamoring about the sale of hundreds of thousands of visas, confusing the issue with work permits. They are also conflating legally working Ukrainians and Belarusians in Poland with illegal migrants from Africa.
Will the PiS recover from this scandal? While it’s a topic of hot debate, there is skepticism that this incident alone will be sufficient to topple the ruling party. As the article suggests, people are not as naive as the strategists from the Civic Coalition might think — or at least, not naive enough in numbers to shift the balance of power in the Polish political landscape.
Given the complexity of the issue and the varying interpretations, it remains to be seen how much of an effect this will have on the electorate as Poland gears up for its upcoming elections.